A Syrian human rights activist has said authorities have prevented him from leaving Syria on a "private visit".
Haythem Al-Maleh, a lawyer and chairman of the Syrian Human Rights Association, was quoted by the BBC as saying the travel ban was linked to a speech on the human rights situation in Syria he made in the German parliament last December.
Al Maleh is among the 1,500 intellectuals who earlier this week signed a petition urging Syrian President Basher al-Assad to introduce "political reform".
Speaking to the BBC Newshour program, Maleh said officials took his passport at Damascus airport when he was about to board his flight to the UAE and told him he could not leave the country.
He said he knew that the order for the ban came from the Syrian secret police who he met with earlier this week to answer questions regarding the lecture he made in Germany.
Al Maleh added the secret police objected to his speech where he connected the issue of human rights and the current situation in Syria.
The ban comes as a Lebanese paper on Tuesday published a petition by other activists, lawyers and intellectuals which urges the release of all political prisoners and the lifting of the state of emergency in place since 1963.
According to the report, Maleh said the government had "problems" with the Human Rights Association, accusing it of "interference". (Albawaba.com)
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